Philippines’ history lessons from Yoyoy Villame’s Magellan 1521 song

Philippines' history Yoyoy Villame's song
Yoyoy Villame’s “Magellan” made history lessons pop culture material. Screengrab from NQC video.

The Philippines’ history lessons about Ferdinand Magellan’s arrival in 1521 and fate at the hands of Lapu Lapu in Mactan were made pop culture material when Visayan troubadour and Bohol native Yoyoy Villame made a hit song with his “Magellan”.

The genius of the Filipino singer-songwriter behind the 1972 novelty song about Magellan’s failed attempt to conquer the islands received acclaim in the Visayas and Mindanao islands before being brought to national attention when Villame signed up as a recording artist in Manila.

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Nearly 50 years since the release of “Magellan”, the English-language song by Villame is once again in the headlines as the Quincentennial Commemorations in the Philippines released the ditty as a music video platform for history lessons with footnotes on the real stories behind the lyrics.

1. Historic date of March 16, 1521

“On March sixteen fifteen hundred twenty-one…” the NQC recalls the first line of the song and goes on to state that the date 500 years ago was when the first circumnavigation of the world was achieved by the Magellan-Elcano expedition when it reached the Philippines and anchored near Suluan Island, part of Guiuan, Eastern Samar.

2. The myth of being “discovered”

The music video flashes notes on the screen as Yoyoy Villame sings his song. Among the historical notes is the clarification that the view of the islands being “discovered” is a foreigner’s perspective and does not reflect the reality that the ancestors had been living on the islands for thousands of years and have been interacting with other people.

3. Limawasa was not the first island reached by Magellan

Magellan’s fleet first set anchor in the seas of Suluan Island, Guiuan in Eastern Samar, not Limasawa. Limasawa has been identified as the site of the first Easter Sunday Mass.

The starving members of the Spanish expedition who have been sailing across the Pacific were met with compassion by the locals in Homonhon.

4. Cebu’s acceptance of the Catholic faith

Some 800 people were baptized in Cebu, signaling the start of the Catholic faith in the islands. The Santo Nino, now an icon for the island with an annual feast in its honor, was given to the local royalty.

5. Mactan refused to be baptized

Lapu Lapu rejected Magellan and the Catholic faith, resulting in a battle between the Europeans and the Mactan warriors

The “Magellan” music video was first released by the NQC on YouTube on March 16, 2020, and again reposted to social media a year later on the same day to signal the start of the 500th anniversary of the role of the Philippines in the first circumnavigation of the world and related events.

By Yoyoy Villame

On March 16, 1521
When Philippines was discovered by Magellan
They were sailing day and night, across the big ocean
Until they saw a small Limasawa island
Magellan landed in Limasawa at noon
The people met him very welcome on the shore
They did not understand the speaking they have done
Because Kastila gid at Waray-Waray man
When Magellan landed in Cebu City
Rajah Humabon met him, they were very happy
All people were baptized and built the church of Christ
And that’s the beginning of our Catholic life
When Magellan visited in Mactan
To Christianize them everyone
But Lapu-Lapu met him on the shore
And drive Magellan to go back home
Then Magellan got so mad
Ordered his men to camouflage
“Mactan island, we could not grab
‘Cause Lapu-Lapu is very hard”
Then the battle began at dawn
Bolos and spears versus guns and cannons
When Magellan was hit on his neck
He stumbled down and cried and cried
Oh, mother, mother, I am sick
Call the doctor very quick
Doctor, doctor, shall I die?
Tell my mama, do not cry
Tell my mama, do not cry
Tell my mama, do not cry
That’s the end of Magellan
In the island of Mactan long time ago
Ladies and gentlemen

WATCH the video for the Philippines’ history lessons from Yoyoy Villame’s Magellan 1521 song and SEND MABUHAY CHEERS in the comments below to the Filipino nation as it marks the role of the country in the first circumnavigation of the world on March 16, 1521!

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